The Rise of Pop-Up Shops

The Rise of Pop-Up Shops

Physical stores are a sprouting trend for digitally native direct-to-consumer brands

Leading retailers of all industries and sizes are continuing to seek innovative ways to bring exceptional consumer experiences to their customers in the midst of ever-evolving market competition. For direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands native to online environments, the most recent trend has been branching out into the real world and giving physical locations a shot with pop-up shops. Pop-up stores are short-term, experiential locations that are often used to test the waters around establishing long-term physical retail stores.

The Benefits of Establishing Short-Term Physical Locations



Many successful D2C brands are beginning to see the value in establishing a temporary physical presence, and it’s easy to see why. Transitioning from online to retail locations can help strengthen brands, build strong customer experiences, and improve retention and loyalty rates. Consumers love the convenience that they receive from D2C retailers online, but there’s something unique about being able to see, feel, touch, and experience a product and its brand in person.

Developing an omnichannel presence that includes physical locations is a savvy strategy; however, the world of physical retail is starkly different from that of online retail. As a result, many D2C companies are hesitant to commit without first testing the waters.

Temporary physical locations provide several benefits to D2C retailers who are considering establishing brick-and-mortar locations. For one, they provide them with the ability to see how customers will react to their products in person. They can also help influence key decisions on crafting the ideal in-store experience for future, permanent physical locations.

Understanding Audience’s Real-World Behavior

Establishing a pop-up presence takes thought and a great deal of planning, especially when it comes to selecting a location. While brands know their target consumers, they likely don’t have the data and insight into their consumers’ competitive shopping behaviors or other real-world visitation patterns. This is where the value of** location data comes into play.**



By uncovering insights about customers’ real-world behavior, such as chains and categories they frequently visit, their length of stay, time of day they visit, and where they’re coming from, D2C retailers can begin to collect valuable information about customer’s preferences and patterns to analyze and use to develop future strategies.

Furthermore, many D2C companies who have established a strong online presence can use these temporary locations to spread awareness about their brand in the real world, which makes pop-up stores powerful brand activation tools. This is especially the case when the experience is exceptional — we are living in the social media age where experiences can be documented and shared extensively by customers and influencers. But in order to build that brand awareness, D2C’s should be looking into activating location-based targeting tactics to bring awareness to consumers when they are nearby stores, greatly increasing the likelihood of them stopping in.

From Clicks to Bricks – Who’s Popping Up?

Companies of all shapes and sizes are beginning to see the value in establishing temporary pop-up shops, from the Dollar Shave Club to Warby Parker. Handbag company Dagne Dover announced the opening of a pop-up shop in NYC’s chic SOHO area in June 2018 to see how much space they would need in the event they were to open up a permanent location.

Online bra manufacturer, ThirdLove, also opened up a concept store in the same area this past summer in an effort to meet the demands of customers looking to connect with the brand face-to-face. Even meal kit service company Blue Apron opened up a location for one month in New York City, where they provided customers with cooking classes and the ability to purchase “grab-and-go” products.

Outside of opening up their own stores, several brands are bringing the brand experience to already established chains such as Target and Walmart. Building relationships outside of an online environment is not a thing of the past, and the successful brands are recognizing the value.

“Consumers are looking for a lot more from brands now than ever before—you have to engage them at multiple touchpoints.” – Andrea Hippeau, principal at venture capital firm, Lerer Hippeau*

Hippeau’s firm won’t even consider funding D2C startups that don’t have a plan to move into offline retail operations.

A Location Strategy Can Serve As a Permanent Solution

The key to success in building a physical retail presence, whether temporary or permanent, lies in a solid location strategy. With the help of location data, companies can analyze foot traffic trends to compare the density patterns of various sites and make the most optimal choice. Location data can also be used to target consumers based on population demographics and identify the most ideal locations for temporary pop-up stores or permanent locations. It can further be leveraged to assess competing locations within a potential site’s area and used to craft forecasts for redirecting business from such competitors.

Direct-to-consumer companies are increasingly turning to the physical world to further strengthen their brands and provide exceptional real-life experiences for their customers. These companies are realizing the importance of establishing an omnichannel presence for their consumers and are beginning to tackle offline retail head-on. But will they be able to master the art of click-to-brick in the long run? Only time will tell.

Written by Liz Weinsten for Business2Community and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

Featured image provided by JOSHUA COLEMAN

4 Uncommon Items You Can Donate To A Charitable Cause


Besides clothes and books, here’s four uncommon items you wouldn’t think to donate.

As you tidy up your home and office, more than likely you will find items that are no longer of good use or “spark joy” for you. You’ve probably donated piles of clothes, books, or useless knick-knacks and appliances throughout the years. Often, most of those items’ value doesn’t even add up enough to qualify for a charitable donation deduction – or perhaps we’re just too lazy to add up the value of all those shoes and shirts. If you’re like me, I just take it to Goodwill and wave goodbye to those items.

However, there are 4 uncommon items you can donate that carry a greater fair market value that may be worth your while to keep the receipt and consider using for a charitable deduction:

1. Cars, boats, and airplanes (If you’re on this level, more power to you!).

2. Taxidermy property, which the IRS defines as “any work of art that is the reproduction or preservation of an animal, in whole or in part.” (very interesting!)

3. Patents and other intellectual property, including copyrights and trademarks.

4. Shares of stocks held in your investment account. (Yes! You can donate the shares instead of cash.)

Keep in mind that the IRS requires you to obtain a receipt from the qualified organization with a description of the property donated for any contribution above $250. Keep these receipts in a safe place so you don’t find yourself scrambling to collect them once it’s time to file.



Capital Benchmark Partners

You may be too lazy to add up all the small goods you donate to charities like Goodwill because they don’t even amount enough to take a tax deduction. However, if you are donating larger ticket items such as stocks, cars, intellectual property, and taxidermy property, then it may be worth your while to keep a record of that donated property as it could be a considerable charitable tax deduction.

Written by Capital Benchmark Partners and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

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Do animals have legal rights?

Do animals have legal rights 01

Non-human rights is a term coined by animal welfare activist and lawyer Steven Wise, who has campaigned for three decades to achieve actual legal rights for members of species other than our own. His organization, the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), is working “to change the common law status of at least some nonhuman animals from mere ‘things’ which lack the capacity to possess any legal right, to ‘persons’ who possess such fundamental rights as bodily integrity and bodily liberty, and those other legal rights to which evolving standards of morality, scientific discovery, and human experience entitle them.”

Steven Wise and the Nonhuman Rights Project is using the legal system to establish a precedent for animal rights, first for chimpanzees and eventually for other animal species. Credit: Patrick Bouquet, FlickrCC

According to NhRP, nonhuman animals are still considered property in the eyes of the law. Even those animals that we know possess feelings, emotions and higher forms of intelligence—great apes, elephants, dolphins, whales—have no more legal standing than a shoe, a table or a car.

“These are complex animals who have deep emotions, understand each other’s minds, live in complicated societies, transmit culture, use sophisticated communication, solve difficult problems, and even mourn the loss of their loved ones,” reports the group. “Just like humans.”

“But they are still considered property, poached and taken from their natural habitat, separated and held against their will, subjected to cruel experimentation, exploited for entertainment, sold on the black market, used, abused and treated like objects for our amusement and financial gain,” says NhRP, adding that such experiences can scar animals for life. “Yet the law affords them no rights, allowing humans to do with them whatever we want.”

Wise and company would like to see animals who are confined for use in research or entertainment have the opportunity to live out their days in a wildlife sanctuary with a hospitable climate where they can enjoy “bodily liberty” to pursue their free will. NhRP is working to first establish a legal precedent that nonhumans can have legal rights in the U.S. judicial system. The organization filed its first cases in New York State in December 2013 representing four individual chimpanzees being used in research labs and for entertainment purposes, and hopes to expand its caseload to other nonhuman species in the near future.

In the meantime, NhRP is looking for the help of volunteer lawyers, scientists, mathematicians and predictive analysis professionals interested in lending their expertise to the fight for recognizing the legal rights of nonhumans.

“Over the coming years, we will be filing as many cases as we can afford, so contributions are very important, too,” reports the group. “We also need funds to help establish sanctuaries for the animals we’re working to free from captivity.”

Why should we care that animals have legal rights too? Steven Wise is fond of quoting Abraham Lincoln, who said: “In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free.” If we don’t want to live in a world where humans are enslaved, why should we tolerate similar treatment of our closest animal relatives and other sentient beings great and small? Whether or not the chimps he is fighting for ever get to a sanctuary, Steven Wise will forever go down in history as the Abraham Lincoln of the non-human rights movement.

Written by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss for EarthTalk and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

Featured image provided by Andre Mouton

4 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Buying A Home

Gauge your financial and situational readiness before purchasing your first home.

The housing market has been hot, and we’ve seen a major uptick in inquiries about home ownership. The decision to buy a home should not be taken lightly. Owning a home is a long-term investment and time commitment.

Your readiness may depend on

(1) what stage of life you’re in,

(2) what you want to financially accomplish in the 2 to 3 years after you buy a new house,

(3) and other financial goals you want to simultaneously tackle.

Home ownership is not as simple as comparing what you currently pay in rent to what your monthly mortgage would be.

Those who rent and want to buy a home often say: “I feel like I am just throwing away money at rent and not owning anything at the end of the day.”

That is true. When you rent, the landlord is responsible for the maintenance expense. You’re just paying rent, and maybe renter’s insurance on top of it. That’s it. When you own a home, you’re not just paying the mortgage. There are property taxes, maintenance expenses, and home insurance. You may also encounter HOAs and PMI costs. As reported by CNBC, homeowners pay 33% to 93% more for housing each month than renters.

Want to buy a home? Answer these 4 questions first to determine your readiness for this type of large investment.

(1) If you had to move within the next 2 to 5 years for any reason, can you handle the costs, planning, and logistics of selling your home vs keeping it to rent it out? Do you even want to bother with these responsibilities?

Rather than owning a home, renting may be better for those who are in the beginning stages of developing their careers. Perhaps you live in Atlanta and you get a wonderful job offer in another state. It’s much easier to pack your bags and sign off on a lease than dealing with the logistics of selling your home or becoming a landlord.

(2) If you are buying a home with the intention of leasing it in the future, are you realistic about the responsibilities of being a landlord?

Is your house in an area where there’s a demand for renting, and will you be able to make a monthly profit? As a landlord, you are still responsible for the repairs and maintenance of the home as well as any expenses you may incur looking for a responsible tenant.

(3) Have you done your due diligence of understanding the housing market?

Home ownership is an investment. The value of your home will fluctuate throughout the years depending on how the economy performs. Also, your home is part of your net worth, so make sure it’s in a location that can sustain its value or has the potential to increase in value. Keep in mind interest rates as well!

(4) Besides having enough for your down payment, do you have enough money to meet the additional expenses that will arise during the home-buying process?

You will likely need to tap into your current cash reserves to pay for closing costs and upfront lender fees, on top of the down payment necessary. These additional expenses throughout the home-buying process catch many first-time home buyers of guard.


Buying a home can be an expensive process and is time-consuming. Owning a home can cost you more in the short term if you don’t perform thorough due diligence and evaluate all the expenses. More importantly, you need to have an honest assessment of your financial planning and determine whether you will have enough cash flow to meet the demands of home ownership in the long run.

Written by Capital Benchmark Partners and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

Featured image provided by Capital Benchmark Partners

How secure is your hidden wall safe, really?

“Safe” and “secure” are not synonymous—know how to secure your safe!

For many people, keeping a modest amount of cash at home for unexpected expenses provides them with peace of mind. If you are one of those people, keeping that cash safe and secure should be your foremost concern. Instead of hiding your cash in an unusual (TV set) or usual (sock drawer) location, consider storing it in a fire resistant and waterproof safe.

However, remember that safes are only secure when used properly. For example, a safe that is not secured to a wall or floor can be easily carried away by humans and flood waters.

We’ve compiled a list of common types of safes and locks to consider for at-home use:

1. Diversion safes that hide in plain sight.

Pro: Small and portable.

Con: Be wary of prying eyes when you open the safe.

2. Wall and floor safes are accessible without taking up space.

Pro: They are easily shielded, disguised, or hidden behind other household items.

Con: Installation can be time and labor intensive.

3. The traditional combination dial lock.

Pro: Immune to power outages and other electronic issues.

Con: Generally, the code is set prior to purchase and can’t be changed. If you did ever need to alter the code, you’d need to hire a locksmith or safe technician.

4. The electronic (digital) safe with a keypad.

Pro: Codes can be changed—important if you want to change your combination on a regular basis for security purposes.

Con: Don’t let the batteries die or you’ll be temporarily locked out of your safe.

5. The secure and reliable key only safe.

Pro: Low cost and low maintenance.

Con: Don’t let the keys fall into the wrong hands or you’ll easily compromise the security of your cash and other valuables.

While there is no foolproof way to completely protect your cash from theft or a natural disaster, having a safe can minimize your risk of loss. The type of safe or lock used to secure your valuables will depend on your specific needs and preferences, but any option will probably provide more security than your mattress.

And although it’s important to secure your cash, don’t have a safe that is “too secure,” meaning that no one, including yourself, can get into it. Make sure you always have the means to unlock the safe.


Security is a top priority for at-home safes and so is accessibility. Choose a safe style and lock type that fits your lifestyle to reduce your risk of loss. But don’t forget the unlock code or where you hid the key.

Written by Capital Benchmark Partners and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

Featured image provided by Capital Benchmark Partners

Have You Made Your Year-End Money Moves?

Santa Claus isn’t the only one who should be making a list and checking it twice.

As we approach the holiday season and the end of yet another year, it can be tempting to put off financial decisions until next January.

Before you get caught up in the hectic year-end bustle, review your finances to determine whether you’re on track to meet the financial goals you set out to accomplish this year.

Here is a checklist to simplify your planning.


Consult with your CPA or tax advisor to estimate how much you may owe for 2019. Review your last paystub to see how much you have paid so far year-to-date in taxes. Also, double-check every line item on your paystub to make sure your employer is withholding the correct amount and paying you correctly.

If you may owe more than anticipated, consider contributing more to your tax deferred retirement accounts to reduce your income tax liability.


Roth IRA and Traditional IRA Contributions

Deadline: April 15, 2020.

Contribution limit: $6,000. If you are age 50 or older, you can contribute an additional $1,000. Keep in mind that the total contribution to your Traditional and Roth IRAs combined cannot exceed $6,000.

Roth IRA Conversions

Deadline: December 31, 2019.

401(k) and 403(b) Contributions

Deadline: December 31, 2019.

Contribution limit: $19,000. If you are age 50 or older, you can contribute an additional $6,000.

SIMPLE IRA Contributions

Deadline: December 31, 2019.

Contribution limit: $13,000. If you are age 50 or older, you can contribute an additional $3,000.

SEP IRA Contributions

Deadline: April 15, 2020. Contributions for a given tax year can be made up to the final tax filing date, including extensions.

Contribution limit: Contributions are limited to the lesser of 25% compensation or $56,000.


How much do you have saved so far in your emergency savings account, investment accounts, and retirement accounts? Is the balance where you want it to be or do you need to contribute more to meet your annual savings goal in each type of account?


You can download a report from your checking and credit card accounts that summarize your total spending year-to-date. Is it within or over the budget you established for the year?

This should help you set a clear budget for your holiday spending. That includes gifts, holiday parties, holiday event and entertainment fees, etc.

Lastly, if travel is a large part of your annual budget, now is a great time to start planning and mapping out your travel for 2020. Many airlines and hotels offer deals and discounted packages from now until after the New Year.


It’s never too early to start planning for the new year ahead. It may seem comfortably far away, but time passes quickly.

Before you set out to do your holiday shopping this year, invest in yourself first.

Written by Capital Benchmark Partners and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

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My Friends are Spending $30K on Their Wedding — And I’m Keeping My Mouth Shut


Thirty thousand dollars. I heard that figure and my jaw dropped. That's the amount that a couple of my friends are spending on their upcoming wedding.

Every time I hear about some new detail of the plans for the wedding, there's a little voice in my head that starts commenting on the bottom line. But here's the thing — it's not my wedding. I'm not going to say a word because my friends are adults and seem to be pretty pleased with what they're getting for their money.

The High Cost of Weddings

The Wedding Report, an industry publication, reports that the average wedding costs $29,000 in the U.S, so my friends aren't so far off the norm. The number may be hard to wrap your head around if you're used to thinking about things in terms of budgeting, saving money and all the other little things that go along with thinking hard about your personal finances, but it's also not so uncommon when you think about the number of cultures in which families bring themselves to the edge of bankruptcy for weddings, dowries and other related expenses.

Personally, I don't like those numbers but the simple fact of the matter is that I know I'm in the minority. My wedding cost just under $200 and I got exactly what I wanted (down to the perfect cake). While I have a hard time understanding the big numbers some people spend on weddings, many people have just as hard a time understanding how I could spend so little.

Nothing I can say or do will make my friends see things my way — and the reverse is just as true. And since they're happy, the only result I can see from saying anything at all is putting my friendships in danger. So, I'm keeping my mouth shut.

High-Priced Weddings Aren't Going Away

But I'm still thinking about the matter.

I'm thinking about why people so clearly prefer big weddings, even with the price tag. For a lot of people, I think it's a matter of priorities: they've thought things through and the idea of a big wedding and all that goes with it (fun times with family, a great party and so on) is worth it. The experience of the perfect wedding is worth more than the alternatives of where they can spend that money.

At the end of the day, it's a matter of personal choices, as it should be. If your financial priority is your wedding, that's fine. You should be able to throw the rockingest party you can. The problems creep in when we think about the fact that not everyone manages their finances perfectly. Not everyone saves up money to pay for their wedding ahead of time or budget for what they can afford to spend. Some people choose to go pretty deep into debt in order to have the wedding of their dreams and wind up paying even more in interest, not to mention causing damage to their credit.

The idea of massive debt for one day of fun — charging an amount equivalent to at least a down payment on a house, if not most of the total cost — is what bothers me. I'm lucky enough that my friends aren't in that boat, but even if they were, it seems like it's not considered polite to even bring up wedding costs and talk about debts. It's not a friend's place to say anything. I can't help but wonder if costs would be a little lower if friends talked about how they were able to save money on their celebrations or talk candidly about staying out of debt.

The current state of the economy seems to be bringing a few more of those discussions out into the open. But we've still got a ways to go. I'm certainly not interested in risking my friendships just to talk about money. I don't think I'm the only one, either.

So, I wish my friends all the happiness in the world — a beautiful wedding and a wonderful marriage. I will be there for the happy day and I will gladly celebrate with them.

Written by Thursday Bram for MoneyNing and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

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